As Spring Training approaches, the one thing that is clear is that the starting rotation on Opening Day won’t be the same by the end of the season. The Opening Day starting rotation is pretty much set barring any injuries with Matthew Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann, Daniel Norris, Spencer Turnbull, and Ivan Nova. The reinforcements lie in wait at the minor league level and they are very talented and hungry to get their chance.
There are two defined roles in this rotation and those belong Matthew Boyd and Ivan Nova. Boyd will be learned on to be the ace of the staff again this season and improve on the good season he had last year. Nova’s role in this rotation is to eat innings and at this point of his career he knows it. You won’t see many starts in which Nova doesn’t go at least six innings, no matter how many runs he gives up. Jordan Zimmermann is looking to find the form that resulted in him getting the huge contract he’s currently on. This is probably a make or break year for Daniel Norris as his time as a starter has been very up and down. That leaves us with Spencer Turnbull who, is still in the growth stage of his career and all he needs to do is continue to improve.
The minors are loaded with talent as 5 of the Tigers top 8 prospects are starting pitchers. This group is led by top prospect Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Tarik Skubal. All three will be called upon at some point this season and as we have learned, you need starting pitching to win in the playoffs. The other two names to watch for to see some big league time this season is Franklin Pérez and Alex Faedo. While neither is as highly regarded, they both possess enough talent to belong in the Majors.
While this season will probably end up as another losing season, we should start to see the fruits of the rebuild this year. The casual fan will be able to see these names that they have heard about and know that the Tigers are heading in the right direction. Be sure to remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint as the Tigers build this back up.